Royal Canadian Air Force
File No. 702/70/P.1
April 21st, 1944
Dear Mrs. Bell:
Before you receive this letter you will have had a telegram informing you that your son, Pilot Officer James Bell, has been reported missing as a result of air operations.
It is with regret that I write to you this date to convey the feeling of my entire squadron. On the night of April 18th your son and his crew took off from this airfield to carry out a bombing attack on a marshalling yard near Paris, and were due to return at approximately two o'clock the following morning. Unfortunately, their aircraft has not returned and nothing has been heard from any member of the crew since time of take off.
There is the possibility that Jim is a prisoner of war and, if such is the case, you will either hear from him direct or through the Air Ministry who will receive advice from the International Red Cross Society. I share your hopes that this may, in fact, be the case.
We lost one of our best crews when this aircraft failed to return. Your son was a most capable Navigator. He had more than twenty successful operational trips to his credit, with a total of nearly 150 hours flying time in raids over enemy territory.
He was popular in the Squadron and was well liked by all those with whom he came into contact. His comrades miss him very much and his loss is regretted by all.
May I express the sympathy which all of us feel with you in your present anxiety and at the same time voice the hope that better news will be forthcoming soon.
Yours very sincerely,
No. 432 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron